He also cites two kinds of perennial rumors which are used to incite the mob. The first kind is about poisoned food, such as milk vendors having been bribed to poison the milk, powdered glass mixed with salt or with bread, water supply poisoned. The second category of perennial rumor includes sexual violence and their tasteful description.
While the rumors do play an important role in spreading violence and hatred they can not be the sole reasons for communal violence. First of all if the same rumors are the reasons for exciting mob repeatedly why don’t governments and civil right groups try to do away with them. Moreover, don’t let these rumors evolve and if they do, the fundamental reason for violence has to do more with the present internal political-economic situation, improvement of one group’s economic situation in a particular region and the present geo-political situation.
If Kakar’s explanations are considered then when was the Islam in danger in India? When did Hindus try to convert Muslims? Muslims taking name of Rama? Even in the North of India Hindus are divided over Rama! When did Pakistan export arms and ammunitions to incite Muslims for communal riots? Do rumors have same effect on Hindus and Muslims or is it Muslims who get more easily excited? Moreover, shouldn’t the equivalent rumors, like, “Hinduism is in danger”, “They are breaking our temples” etc be more appropriate to incite Hindus?
The fact is that majority of Hindus of the North in this high consciousness post-cold war era are very proud of their Aryan origin and believe that the whole of India belongs to them. Muslims as a majority on the other hand remember the dominance of Moghuls and other Islamic rulers in medieval period and consider Aurangzeb as a great ruler and hero. This is the conflict of the high conscious era though communal violence in India is as old as the formal British rule. The rumors that Kakar talks majorly probably belong to pre-independence period or early post-independence period. People have evolved; both Hindus and Muslims, and majority of them know, at least in 2012, that neither of them can convert other.
Muslims feel happy by the fact that more number of Hindu females marry Muslim males than Muslim females marrying Hindu males, that Hindus go to Muslims’ places of worship while Muslims go to none and that Hindus of North use Arabic and Persian words while Muslims hardly use any Sanskrit words. Hindus feel happy by the fact that Hindus have huge economic superiority over Muslims, that India is asymmetrically more powerful than Pakistan and more importantly that Muslims are killed in higher numbers in almost all communal violence and this trend is becoming observable in the South as well.
There is a fundamental difference between Hinduism and Islam. If the history of any Islamic country were like India, it would have banished all the minorities forever. But in India this is not the case. Moreover, Hindus have caste and regional divides so as to not fully ostracize and alienate Muslims. The fact is that majority of Muslims in India still feel that Islam is superior religion than Hinduism. The absoluteness of any religion can not be proven and it is the White Christianity and not all-colored Christianity which is the dominant civilization of the globe. Many Muslims still object to Hindus taking their processions in Muslim majority regions. Whatever is the global relationship between Hinduism and Islam, the superiority of Islam can not be proven in India. The fact is that except some post-independence violence and discrimination against Muslims, Hindus have only harmed its own people by its caste apartheid and not people of any other religion or any other society.
The real reason for the violence other than rumors is the conflicting consciousness in view of conflicting histories, many Hindus objecting to creation of Pakistan and continuity of Kashmir dispute, presumed superiority of past and selective interpretation of history and selective memory of the people, majorityism and minorityism, jealousy due to economic uplifting, apathy of the middle classes, wrong projections of each other by respective elites and governments always trying to strive at balance by disturbing equilibrium. Therefore while rumors may be responsible for the actual violence on the day, the conflict is permanent, fundamental and age-old.
The fact is that Internet and high modes of communication help people learn history more and also rewrite history because of consumerism induced nationalism. Technology is not always additive tools and it is also not always symmetric tool. In India it affects majority and minorities differently with both vouching for bigger space than they presently have. The division of British India has helped majorities in both India and Pakistan occupying bigger space than their population fractions. It has also helped them improve their genetic pools. The Muslims on the other hand in India are poorly represented. But the time warrants increasing awareness and Muslims, of late, have started demanding reservation in government jobs. Most likely they will get it but it will initiate a kind of cold war between Hindus and Muslims with the BJP not necessarily getting benefited. Majority of Hindus will never abandon their castes and beliefs and therefore, the BJP strength will always be secondary to Congress in long term. As long as the BJP is contained the cold war will also be contained.
The best solution for containing the communal conflict requires appreciation of beauty, wealth and sex. Promotion of consumerism, possession, updating of ids and egos add to the cause. It requires understanding others’ viewpoints other than asserting their own. It requires mutuality and reciprocity from both Hindus and Muslims. The accidents, untimely death, infant mortality rates, death during labor etc should decrease. The life should become more stable, promising and prosperous. Stakes for almost all should increase. The future should be more predictable and secured. People should behave more like investors. But all of this requires better politics and good leadership. People and the governments need to invest in public good and in the good of the society.
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